February is Heart Health Awareness Month. This year, there are more considerations than usual around heart health. According to cardiologist Razvan Dadu, MD, at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Comprehensive Heart Care, COVID-19 affects cardiovascular health. Dadu indicates in an article for Memorial Hermann that people should pay attention to heart health
, especially after age 50 and in the pandemic. He outlines concerns, such as weight, nutrition and fitness, blood pressure, and habits.
"Increased body weight increases the risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure, and diabetes," Dadu says, reminding readers of the benefits of a healthy diet and regular fitness routine to balance body weight. He recommends 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a day, which can mean different things. "Brisk walking, swimming, or mowing the lawn involve aerobic exercise, which has been shown to help maintain, and even improve, your heart health."
The benefits of moderate activity include the reduction of blood pressure and cholesterol levels. When these points go unchecked, they lead to larger issues like atherosclerosis. On the other hand, when people eat well and work out, they increase their lifespan and enjoy each day more. Not smoking helps, too.
"Having a cardiologist who knows your health and family history can help you manage these risk factors and intervene before cardiovascular disease becomes severe," Dadu says. Unfortunately, some heart patients who worry about contracting COVID-19 at a health clinic or hospital have stopped visiting cardiologists during the pandemic. Dadu urges people to put their worries aside and seek medical care for heart health. Hospitals like Memorial Hermann
here in the Memorial District take every precaution to reduce coronavirus spread, so it is important to keep appointments and continue focusing on heart health.
"The best thing to do is to avoid contracting COVID-19," Dadu said about keeping your heart healthy and strong during the pandemic. Some of his broader recommendations for health and safety in February and during but also pandemic may sound familiar. He encourages people to follow guidelines from the CDC and other health officials, wear a face mask in public, keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others, and wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. Then, report new symptoms to healthcare providers. "That's the best way to protect your heart."